Liverpool extended their unbeaten start to their 2018/19 Premier League campaign with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Liverpool got off to a flying start and opened the scoring after just ten minutes. Jamaal Lascelles failed to clear his lines from an Andrew Robertson cross and Dejan Lovren was on hand to fire a superb half-volley into the roof of the net.
The Reds dictated possession for the remainder of the first-half, but they found it difficult to break down a stubborn Newcastle defence. Xherdan Shaqiri came closest to making it two just before the interval, but his free-kick was acrobatically tipped over by Martin Dubravka.
One minute into the second-half, Liverpool did manage to double their lead through Mohamed Salah, who confidently converted a penalty he won himself after appearing to be tripped in the box by Paul Dummett.
The game was wrapped up with ten minutes left on the clock thanks to Shaqiri. Trent Alexander-Arnold was slipped in on the right hand side of the 18-yard-box before he squared the ball into Shaqiri, who had an open goal to aim at.
The scoreline was then provided with some extra polish when Fabinho got in on the act, scoring his first goal for the Reds with a close-range header from a corner which left Dubravka with absolutely no chance.
Newcastle had a late chance to find a consolation goal, but Alisson produced a magnificent double-save to maintain his clean sheet.
Key Talking Point
We are now exactly half way through the 2018/19 Premier League season and Liverpool remain unbeaten. That's quite an achievement.
The Reds haven't been blowing teams away with effortless ease but they haven't really looked like slipping up at any point this season - as exhibited by their performance in this one.
In truth, Newcastle didn't offer up too much in the way of opposition, but Liverpool got the job done efficiently and effectively. There are sure to be plenty of twists and turns before the season is up, but this is the best chance Liverpool have ever had at winning the Premier League title - especially after Manchester City lost their second consecutive match against Leicester.
Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (6), Lovren (7), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (8*); Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (6), Shaqiri (8); Salah (7), Mane (7), Firmino (7).
Substitutes: Fabinho (7), Sturridge (6), Clyne (N/A).
Star Man - Andrew Robertson
There aren't many players in the Premier League who are able to match Roberton's sheer work rate.
The Scottish left-back was a thorn in the side of Newcastle all afternoon, constantly bombing down the flank and whipping dangerous balls into the box. It was his cross that led to Liverpool's opening goal and, if Liverpool were a bit sharper in the final third, he could have ended with a handful of assists before he was substituted towards the end of he match.
Worst Player - Georginio Wijnaldum
By no means a poor performance from Wijnaldum, but he was Liverpool's least effective midfielder and his influence on the game was somewhat restricted.
He was replaced by Fabinho midway through the second-half as Jurgen Klopp looked to secure the Reds' lead.
Key Talking Point
Newcastle had managed to pick up four points from their previous two matches, but they were far from convincing on both occasions, so they still had much to prove.
For the most part, they set themselves up very well at the back, stifling the Liverpool forward line as much as possible, but there was a distinct lack of ambition about their play.
Once again, they looked bereft of ideas in the final third and once Liverpool scored their second, it seemed to be a case of damage limitation more than anything. After appearing to turn a corner in November, the Magpies look to be slipping back into their old habits.
Starting XI: Dubravka (7), Yedlin (6), Lascelles (5), Fernandez (6), Dummett (6); Ritchie (7), Diame (6), Hayden (6), Kenedy (5); Muto (6), Joselu (4).
Substitutes: Longstaff (6), Murphy (N/A).
Star Man - Martin Dubravka
Newcastle pulled off one of the best bargains of the summer when they made Dubravka's loan deal permanent for just £3m.
The Slovakian pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline down and he demonstrated a proactive approach to goalkeeping that bailed his defenders out on a number of occasions. The scoreline is in no way a reflection on how he well performed.
Dubravka is one hell of a keeper— . (@NotNinjaah) December 26, 2018
Martin Dubravka is Newcastle’s best player by a ridiculous distance.— Feliz FlabbyLad (@Bocafuente) December 26, 2018
Dubravka is one of the best GK’s in the league like, Liverpool could have scored 3/4 in the first half— Jordan (@jordan_nufc98) December 26, 2018
Worst Player - Joselu
Joselu was thrust into the side to give Salomon Rondon a brief spell of rest and unfortunately the Spaniard didn't make good on his chance to lead the line.
He missed the target with a few decent looking opportunities that, if they were converted, may have altered the overall outcome of the match.
Both sides are in Premier League action again on Saturday, with Liverpool welcoming Arsenal to Anfield and Newcastle travelling to face Watford.